This story comes from a booklet created to celebrate Guysborough County’s rich culture and heritage as part of the Guysborough County Adult Learning Association’s Canada 150 Project. The booklet contains stories, articles and pictures of how we have lived, worked and sometimes persevered in our great county.
Our store is a family business built in 1955 by my Uncle Gordon Jones. For seven years he and his wife were ran the store as a restaurant, gas station, and a garage for car repairs; oil changes and tires were done daily. Aunt Jean looked after the restaurant and both of them supplemented the business by keeping a huge two-story house at the back. They supplied fresh eggs to the community as well as sold them to the stores in Antigonish.
On Labor Day weekend 1963, my mom and dad along with myself and his sister and brother bought the store and began our life as retailers. My dad worked the garage and sold really good products from the Halifax County Line to New Harbour. In later years, he drove a school bus to supplement the store’s business. My mom kept the restaurant. The menu in those years was fish and chips, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream sundaes, my mom’s homemade donuts and cookies.
In 1967, I moved to Ontario; my mom and dad found it very hard to run the store alone, so they gave up the restaurant part and continued to run it as a convenience store until my brother took over. He ran it until Jim and I bought him out on September 16, 1985. At that time, we filled in the pit that was still in the garage and turned it into a storage area. We changed the bathroom for the customers to the outside, but other than that the store is very much the same as it was. When the gas tanks were installed in 1955 they sold FINA Gas. Today we buy from the same supplier. They have changed their name to Petro-Canada.
Times have changed. Small country stores like ours are not the backbone of the community like they once were. You cannot compete with the big stores. The cost of everything is really high. It’s becoming more difficult to turn a profit. We keep saying we’re going to close but it’s in my blood. It’s very hard to close forever. What would Stormont do without it?
Article by Mary Rhynold and the Guysborough Adult Learning Association’s Canada Forward 150 Project – “Guysborough Success Stories”. All photos by Mary Rhynold.